Study: Trauma centers that serve mostly minority patients have higher death rates

Nearly 80 percent of trauma centers in the United States that serve predominantly minority patients have higher-than-expected death rates, according to new Johns Hopkins research published in the October issue of Annals of Surgery. Moreover, the research shows trauma patients of all races are 40 percent less likely to die--regardless of the severity of their injuries--if they receive treatment at hospitals with lower-than-expected mortality rates, the vast majority of which serve predominantly white patients. Lead researcher Adil H. Haider, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, said in an announcement that the study suggests hospitals play a bigger role in the racial disparity of trauma outcomes than biology or the history of patients. "It's not just differences in the patients," Haider said. "All patients of all races do better at the trauma centers treating white majority populations, so this research tells us we need to direct attention to hospitals with higher mortality rates to help them improve their outcomes, or we won't ever be able to turn this around." Abstract and announcement